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Miikka Kiprusoff: Should Flames keep or move him?

Wednesday, 03.20.2013 / 7:10 PM / 2013 Trade Deadline

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Miikka Kiprusoff emerged as an elite goaltender almost from the day he arrived with the Calgary Flames  during the 2003-04 season.

In that first season he backstopped the Flames to the 2004 Stanley Cup Final, allowing 51 goals in 26 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He won more than 40 games three times in the following four seasons, playing an average of 75 games.

He's battled injuries this season, but at age 36 remains capable of stealing games. But will he continue to steal them for the Flames?

NHL.com takes examines the pros and cons to the Flames making Kiprusoff available to move at the April 3, 2013 NHL Trade Deadline:

MIKKA KIPRUSOFF

Position: Goalie

Age: 36

Statistics: 12 games, 5-5-2, 3.27 goals-against average, .826 save percentage

Salary status: After this season, Kiprusoff has one more year left on his contract, with a salary-cap hit of just over $5.8 million.

Keep him: In a crowded Western Conference, the Flames still believe that if they can string a few wins together, they'll climb right into the race for one of the final playoff spots. If they have any hope of doing that, they'll need Kiprusoff to be the kind of strong performer he has been for nearly a decade in Calgary. And though Kiprusoff might not have overwhelming statistics, the knee injury that sidelined him for a month certainly had something to do with that, and as he continues to shake off the rust, he'll only get better.

Move him: The Flames went 6-5-2 with Kiprusoff out of the lineup with his knee injury, showing they could be successful without their franchise netminder. With the Flames possibly looking at a fourth straight season out of the playoffs, it's time to make that move permanent. Kiprusoff has the rest of this season and next season on his contract, which could make him a desirable short-term target for a team looking to upgrade in net.

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It's hard to walk into that locker room and look those guys in the eye when they've played -- clearly, that was our best game we've played in the series -- and I thought we deserved a better fate tonight.

— Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper on his team's 3-2 loss to the Canadiens in Game 3 on Sunday